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Mt Barney

Mt Barney, Ballow and Clunie

Mt Clunie   Egan's Ck  Peasant's Ridge   Mezzinine Ridge   Savages Ridge   South East Ridge   South East Right Ridge   Logan's Ridge   Rocky Creek   North Ridge   Eagle's Ridge   Long Leaning Ridge   Short Leaning Ridge   Long Barrabool Ridge   Border Route form Mt Lindsay Highway to Nothofagus      Border Route from Mt Clunie to Nothofagus    Barney Saddle to West Peak   West Peak to Burrajum Peak and Gwyala Pk   Montserrat Lookout, Durramlee, Mowburra The Ballows throughwalk Mt Ballow - Minnages Mountain  Mt Ernest  

Mt Clunie, Stag's Head and Watson Ck Falls M66

Leave the car at the start of some bitumen about 600m past Boonah Border Gate. Half an hour of walking up and down several foot hills or so leads to the foot of the very steep ascent of Clunie. This is about as steep as the rabbit fence ever gets but with a day pack on, half an hour should be all that is required to reach the summit. This is not a recommended descent route.

When done four of us started at 7 am and finished at 3 pm and were able to investigate the flora reserve on a ridge leading south west from the summit. This ridge ultimately provides great views to the North. On this particular day, the weather was overcast and close to rain. At 1000 m there was a complete whiteout. The ridge was well worth exploring although coming back a wrong turn was briefly made prior to the saddle after which one climbs to the summit. Keep to the North to avoid taking this wrong turn on the way back.

To get to Stag's Head, follow the rabbit fence over the next knoll south from the summit and find a ridge that runs roughly North East from just before the rabbit fence starts to seriously descend to the south. After a while the slope almost plateau's out before descending again. Later it gets very steep and reaches a small cliff. Descend on the south of the cliff and contour under it to the north to regain the ridge. Soon the saddle is reached. Stag's head is a short ascent and despite the name isn't all that special. Of significance is the thickness of vegetation at the highest point on Stag's Head.

After the top of Stag's Head is reached, head NNE until the main ridge becomes obvious. For a while the route neither ascends or descends but the vegetation becomes easier to negotiate until the rainforest gives way to Wet Schlerophyll and eventually dry Schlerophyll forest. A 100 m ascent marks the final climb. Keep heading North from this point when needing to make a choice in ridges. Sweeping views of neighbouring valleys amongst large casuarinas will be encountered. We saw a flock of Red Tailed Black Cockatoos in this location.

A gentle descending ridge north leads to Watson's Ck Falls containing some interesting fresh water rock pools and dramatically coloured cliffs. A short ascent to the top of the ridge to the West and up will lead to the rabbit fence again. Hop it and hopefully find the car over the next hill.

Egan's Creek M66

This begins as the gully to the south of Rum Jungle. My memory is vague as I did this in 1986. We did it without rope and it took us an hour longer than Peasant's Ridge would have taken us. I doubt that I would do this again (as I prefer non creek routes to creek routes on Barney) so if other walkers wish to suggest further details please email me (dhaliczer@gmail.com

Peasants Ridge M56

Tricky slippery slab

National Parks have erosion control tags directing walkers over the slippery slab which is the first scrambling puzzle on the way up. For safety reasons in the wet it is suggested to follow the base of the cliff around to the point it rejoins the main trail about 100m further up. On coming down the slab can be avoided if one remembers that the chimney feature you must travel through is experienced shortly before the turnoff to the slab. A lookout is obvious and behind the lookout an obvious pad heads towards Mt Ernest - this is what you take to avoid the slab. National Parks Rangers need to recognise that while this alternative causes erosion, a rescue for a spinal injury may cause far more damage to vegetation etc.

Mezzanine Ridge L87

This begins by following the Peasant's Ridge track until on the main ridge before crossing the creek to peasant's ridge. Continue on the crest of the ridge until over a knoll. Follow the pad up the crest until joining a rocky razorback. To ascend the razorback follow the cliff to the west and up until it becomes easy to move up and eastward. Once ascended the razorback is followed for about an hour with some incredible dramatic scrambles as it narrows to a sheer knife edge. At one point the group had to move along its south side and ascend taking great care in setting up a 1m belay on a casuarina I think. Note the old blackboy stump here is ready to come out.

The razorback ends on a chimney like descent where care is needed in placing the feet in the right places. Lower yourself off an overhanging rock and you should be able to stand on a little ledge 1.5 m below it. After the razorback the ridge widens and is heavily vegetated but easy to pass through by sticking to an obvious pad. Prior to meeting the main peak, a scramble up to a stringy bark appears harder than it is with very good foot and hand holds. Go out onto the main face then back to the chimney like crack then up to the tree. At the main East Peak cliffs, contour west until a gully allows you to ascend up and beyond to East Peak.

Savages Ridge

This is a pleasant ascent or descent route found by walking up the road next to Cronan Creek until Egan's Creek has been crossed. Walk another 50 - 100 m until a spur is met and then ascend on your right. When the ridge turns to the north west the going gets quite interesting with slabby and rocky sections until Savages knoll is reached 689709. There are fantastic views from here. The route turns north and then north east towards West Peak along an enjoyable razorback outcrop. The ascent up West Peak through the gully needs to be done with care and one at a time as it is possible to dislodge rocks that are hard to avoid if you happen to be beneath them. 

Many walkers I speak to don't like Savages as much as other ridges due to the higher level of scrub and less rocky slabs than other routes but Savages Knoll at the crest of this ridge and the razorback route that leads to West Peak is quite spectacular and gives some unique views of East and West Peak. 

South East Ridge M66

The track for this has a medium sized log blocking its access at 717697 on the Mt Lindsay 1:25 000 map. After the dirt track ends at the base of the main ridge the walk begins to get steep. For an interesting scramble, leave the main pad to the south at the first rocky obstacle and climb up through an interesting chimney. If you are a believer in minimal impact and love rock I suggest sticking to the rocky slabs on the edge of precipices to the south of the main pad going up. The rock is grippy providing it is dry.

This ridge features a few false summits, the last of which has a tricky slab that can be climbed by chimney in between the slab and a wall of rock to the south. Near the summit the track reaches its crux. My favourite part is where the only way up is to climb over an arête of rock giving all appearances of terrible airy exposure around the corner when in fact you arrive at a wonderful large ledge and an easy ascent to the top follows.

South East Right Ridge M97

This ridge joins South East Ridge just before the final summit ascent from the north. If after descending yellow pinch hill you follow the fence line west, cross the creek and head towards East Peak, cross a smaller creek and then head up you will be on this ridge. The vegetation is very open and easy to walk through. Not many people do this one - there is no established track. When rock is met it is amongst Barney's best. One rocky section is quite awkward and people in my group needed a 50 m rope to give them security to make the ascent here. A small obstacle is met further up but a small tree can be used to get up, the rest is not hard. In many ways this is a cross between Mezzinine and Logan's Ridge.

Rocky Creek M66

A good descent route when dry. This begins at the North Peak - East Peak saddle. A nice well used pad helps avoid steep granite slabs and enables a rapid descent until forced by the steep rocky sides into the creek itself. A rope is a good idea as some of the slabs in the creek are exceedingly slippery and hence very dangerous. 20m of rope will do. Route descriptions given to us suggest leaving rocky creek lower down than where we left it. When the south bank opened up we contoured around to Logan's Ridge. Our route involved about 1km of contouring whereas contouring further down may have taken longer.

North Ridge M76

This is the best descent route as the slabs are numerous and generally easy to negotiate. From the summit of North Peak there is a trail leading to the top of North Ridge. This trail starts on the north east of the summit.

Just below North Peak on it's North side there is a large cleft between the summit and a knoll. This cleft leads onto the main ridge. Several rocky pinnacles are negotiated on the descent by staying to the south. The first descent chasm is shown inn the following picture. It begins after the first large slabs are descended, and a few smaller slabs are passed before the ridge meets some knolls that produce a small saddle.


There are definitely two more places where the route is a descent on the south off the main ridge. The second side descent is a bit more exposed and is easy to miss before having to backtrack. The third is easiest to spot as the knoll you come to is quite large and uninviting. When you descend the third south side route it is best to stay at the base of the cliff until an obvious upclimb using a tree route presents itself to get back on the main ridge.

Not long after there is a walk under a natural arch way made of two massive boulders that are balanced against each other at the top of the archway. It is important to stay on the ridge until well clear of any rocky slabs. The open forest is quickly contoured over Rocky Ck and onto Logan's Ridge.

Long Leaning Ridge L99

Some tough scrambling on exposed sites here. The first challenge is a large slab (after the first pinnacle) which from below looks climbable but is not worth it. Bypass this slab by following the base of the slab Westwards. After this second pinnacle you reach the massive slab which traverses Eastward to Short Leaning Ridge. Follow the slab down and Eastward until a large horizontal crack makes a traverse across the slab to some bigger trees doable. Head up and Eastwards avoiding danger by following the vegetation up until you are forced to make a mad scramble up over an exposed arête (footholds and handholds are sufficient) which is a hairy experience. You will need to drop a rope down for those not willing to risk certain death.

The next obstacle isn't encountered until the long scrubby ridge comes to a minor peak and heads sown into a rocky saddle. Progress is now only possible by heading down to the West of Leaning Peak and up a gully eastwards to Leaning Peak. When Short Leaning Ridge is finally joined the going gets really tough. An exposed ledge is used to hold onto and move slightly eastwards (about 2 m) over 1000 ft of cliff (realising there is nowhere for your feet at this point) until a lovely desperate handhold is found whilst hope that the small foothold will do. Once this handhold is found the progress is better and a belay rope can be anchored to a rather large tree above the crux of the leaning ridges if there are members of the group who don't deal with the exposure easily. After this there is a nice abseil after the summit. When around in May 2002 there was a double anchor off several trees left that seemed very solid. 50 m of rope was enough to abseil down to North Peak. In May 2014 I was here again and found that the belay points are now bolted and a 60m rope is required as the anchor is further back than the tree belay point used to be.

Eagle's Ridge L87

Walk from the lower portals until just before descending into Barney Ck and head south up the ridge which is a little scrubby in parts but clears up when nearing the top of this first knoll. To descend off the knoll, backtrack a little and head east and down the granite into the saddle.

Follow the gully west and down until an obvious pad to the south enables you to bypass this rocky pinnacle. Next, a long arduous climb takes you to the top of the next knoll. It is at the top of this knoll that an appreciation for how much further can be gained. Head down and up the fourth "bump" of the day. This pinnacle ends at an abrupt cliff which can be abseilled off (about 25m drop). A ridge from the east of this "bump" can be followed down about 50 - 100m where a possible descent off the rock slab can be made. Follow the base off the cliff up and south to get to the saddle of the next and final knoll.

Follow around the base of the cliff of Toms Tum and you eventually get passed the knoll which can be climbed to bag the Tum. Isolated Peak from here is a steep climb that involves some tough scrambling moves at times.

Once over Isolated Peak, head south onto the shoulder and follow an eastern ridge until you can start heading down to the south. Some downward zig-zags and then a traverse to the saddle with North Peak is the only way through and it is a bit of a maze.

At the cliff, follow the base of the rock on the east side and then stay on the ridge until the main Leaning Peak-North Ridge ascent begins. Traverse around the east face to a tree under the last of the overhang. It looks ascendable here but this is deceiving. It is better to go down 5 m and then traverse until a scrubby gully in the rock is found. The rock here is nice and juggy - follow it up to the top. North Peak is just a quick ascent from here.

Short Leaning Ridge L99

Beginning above Barney Falls. Short Leaning Ridge is the ridge immediately west of Barney falls. A reasonably steep ridge with little difficulty is ascended for the first half hour until the ridge becomes narrow and slabby. From here some steep slabs are negotiated and various minor knolls are ascended and passed. Eventually the foot of a near vertical cliff is reached. A crevice has formed between one cliff and another cliff above it. To ascend further, climb up the crevice and follow a ledge around to the south east corner where a lovely juggy steep ridge can be climbed for about 60 m. 

The crux of Short Leaning Ridge is described under the Long Leaning Ridge section and begins where the two ascent routes meet. 
 

Barney Gorge M66

The main point to remember when rock hopping down Barney Gorge is that difficult obstacles are avoided at all times by heading around the West side of the creek.

Lower Portals to Barney Falls 55

From The lower portals campsite a track heads West up the slope to a little saddle between the lookout over the portals and a higher knoll. A track heads south into Barney Ck as it swings 90 ° to the South. Rock hop about 700 m along Barney Ck until the creek begins to turn towards the West. Barney Falls appears straight in front of you beyond a short tributary. A track immediately to the East heads up on to the ridge between the two adjacent tributaries. Follow this ridge until above the falls and walk across and down to the top of Barney falls.

Long Barrabool ridge

About 2kn downstream from the upper portals enter Barabool Ck. Then go up past a major tributary on the left and at the second tributary head up the ridge between the creeks. It is had going but once rock outcrops are reached, the going gets easier. Be careful of loose rocks! A right hand turn leads to a rocky knoll that's great for lunch, Descend down an easy ramp 20m back from the knoll and then ascend the Next outcrop. Difficult outcrops can be bypassed or the south side. At the saddle it is a 20 minute descent for water if needed. Ascend

Border Route - Mt Lindsay Highway to Nothofagus National Park L66

From Mt Lindsay Border Gate walk 600 m down the highway until the rabbit fence rejoins. Follow the rabbit fence in a north east direction passing two impressive termite mounds on the left. At 685660 the rabbit fence heads back to the highway, so cross the fence at the gate here and follow the fence maintenance road along another fence that continues on the main ridge to 678668. The best views of the day are along this section of Mt Barney, Mt Ernest and Mt Lindsay.

The vegetation changes to rainforest at the road head. Continue up the hill ignoring the fence which does a sharp right hand turn towards Mt Ernest. At the top of the knoll (880m) follow the north west ridge. A good walk from here would be to Mt Ernest via the east ridge. Continue on the highest most south ridge. If you see higher ground to the south you should immediately make your way there. An older system of orange metal tags exist along the way to ensure you are on task. The turnoff to Barney Spur is exceptionally difficult to locate without a GPS. An old logging track is joined at 683680 but is highly infested with native raspberry along much of its length. At 630694 a maintained 4WD drive road is encountered and it is a quick hike down to the entrance of Nothofagus National Park from here. 

Mt Clunie to  Nothofagus National Park via border route L66 -  20 km

The south side of Mt Clunie is very steep in parts but the border fence maintenance workers have devised a zigzagging wire guide at the worst point. It is not a good idea to hold onto the rabbit fence here to lower yourself down - a friend of mine impaled his wrist on the fence doing this in 1987. Shortly after the descent, the rainforest gives way to more open forest and the track becomes accessible by 4WD. A small hut with dodgy tank water can be located along the track at 563674. The water is sure to be full of wrigglers (mosquito larvae).

Another 4km or so, a locked gate is found and the fences divide. The rabbit board fence and road continue west to meet Hills road from Woodenbong. The old rabbit fence  with a decent track can be followed NNE along the main ridge until the top of the narrow NNW leading ridge at 608684 where the fence line ends and so does any sign of a track. The open forest along the top of this ridge has a thick undergrowth and is quite rocky so progress is very slow until the ridge swings around to the north and slightly west again. Here tall rainforest is encountered as the ascent to Mt Ballow takes place. A major knoll before Mt Ballow is the first sign of great Antarctic Beech forest that can be encountered in this area. 

Between this knoll and Mt Ballow, the top of Lindsay Ck can be accessed from the saddle. On the other side of the saddle I lost a silver compass in 2001 - if anyone finds it please return it?? Double peak is a short walk to the north of Mt Ballow. Mt Ballow has an open area suitable for several small tents if needed amongst great Beech trees.  Mt Ballow to Mt Nothofagus doesn't seem far but the number of tree falls may slow progress.

From Mt Ballow, locate the ridge to Mt Nothofagus by heading south east at first and then south. This is an easy area to take a false ridge. The ridge to Big Lonely  can be located from the top of the knoll prior to Mt Nothofagus. From Mt Nothofagus take a east bearing to locate the correct descent ridge. After 200 m, the ridge begins a long swing to the south. In the saddle at 629702 some magnificent walking-stick palms are encountered. Instead of walking up the next hill, take a south bearing and the top of the Nothofagus national park road is soon reached.

Rum Jungle (Barney Saddle) to West Peak 55

From the top of Barney Saddle a clear pad up a rocky cleft is the obvious route. Follow path's through montane heath and rocky slabs until a bluff is reached at about 1250 m. Follow the base of the bluff south and slightly upwards until it becomes easy to ascend to the summit.

West Peak to Burrajum Peak 88

From West Peak summit, move west and south until a chimney is located. Carefully make your way down making sure you do not trust the vegetation here. At the crux of the descent, a rock jutting out of the south side of the chimney is reached through an awkward balancing maneuver. Once your weight is on this rock, swivel around and then down onto a ledge below that can be followed to a safer descent of the rest of the chimney. Try to stick to the track to Savages Point and Burrajum Peak as the heath and forest is very hard to push through. This area known as Barney spur can be very tiresome due to the thickness of the scrub and fuel. My descent from here down the creek beginning at 677701 needed a 50 m abseil rope to get through a waterfall - there is no way therefore to ascend by this creek. It is better to come down into the upper reaches of Cronin's creek from further south. Gwyala peak is a 30 minute hike from Burrajum Peak and the good news is the vegetation is a little kinder!

Montserrat Lookout, Durramlee Peak, Mowburra Peak from Mount May car park L66 17km (8 km if 4WD used)

Unfortunately the road access passed Mt May car park is really poor - a 4WD is needed to negotiate the rocky slippery and steep conditions.

Follow the road to the National Park sign and follow the sign to the upper portals. When Yamahra creek is reached, follow it downstream to the national park boundary. The slopes of Montserrat are fairly clear of undergrowth here so follow the boundary fence to the top of the slope and follow the main ridge up and southwards to the main peak. Great views of the Barney massif are obvious here. Over the summit a vague track can be followed to Montserrat's other peak. The ridge line makes a sharp turn to the north west.

At the Focal Peak-Montserrat saddle, contour west until the ridge known as Cedar Pass is reached. Follow the ridge north and then west to Durramlee Peak. Near the top a lovely rare strand of Antarctic Beech is encountered and nice views to the south and west are encountered through the trees. Following this high ridgeline north east will quickly lead to Mowburra peak which has granite slabs on the summit providing some views.

To find the grassy ridge to descend on, continue down in an east direction keeping to the north until the grass ridge becomes obvious. Follow this ridge north along a rough track that becomes clearer the lower one descends. The knoll below this ridge should be ascended to its eastern side and then followed eastwards initially and then north easterly towards the next hill. A road will be found that should be followed past a shed. Continue in this direction on the road that contours around the hill and over two gates to reach the national park boundary once again.

The Ballows

From Mt Durrumlee follow the south west ridge through scrubby tee tree scrub until a nice rainforest saddle is reached. Continue upward to Double Peak skirting the westward side of a rocky outcrop until a way up is obvious. On the second hump a great open rocky area gives tremendous views of Barney, Ballow, Clunie and Wilson's Peak.

The descent is a bit tricky as the track heads east down a grassy embankment and then swings south to the top of a dangerous wet rocky slide. A rope of about 20m or more is useful to at least safely get to the tree. Once at the bottom of the cliff, a short walk leads to the ascent of Ballow. The scrub can be awful to get caught in here so stick to the track. At the top a long shoulder is followed prior to the final Ballow descent.

To descend to Big Lonely from Ballow.

Follow the ridge to Mt Nothofagus. At the knoll after the saddle, take a bearing East and keep to this bearing at all costs! Eventually you will contour along a ridge instead of descending. The ridge you will eventually be on top of is the one to follow. Change your bearing to South East to ascend onto Big Lonely. After summiting Big Lonely (the last of the Antarctic Beech Forest), follow the long ridge to the north east until you reach the junction of Big Lonely and Ballow Ck. A short rockhop will lead to Barney Ck. It is still a couple of hours of rockhopping until the upper portals area.

Mt Ballow via Minages Mountain

Park the car off the road at 579735. An immediate ascent to the east is according to my map state forest although there are fences and cattle in the area. Ascend the main ridge where there is a reliable and easy to follow track in the open forest. The long ascent suddenly becomes very gentle as rainforest dominated by a walking stick understorey is encountered. Continue ascending and then start to head north east until the top of the ridge heading north is encountered. Follow the forest down below some boulders and then duck into the rainforest again and ascend to the saddle. The ascent to Mt Ballow doesn't appear to be far on the map but I have found myself underestimating this route each time. The rainforest here is fairly open so if you are short of water it is easy to contour south at about 1100m altitude to the creek and then ascend to the summit. setstats 1

Mt Ernest
The full traverse requires private property access from the east end of the ridge, great razorbacks exist on the eastern end with organ pipe formations. My preferred route, challenging and not for those who are accustomed to exposure is via the “organ pipes” route. From campsite 9, cross the creek and immediately ascend the ridge heading south west. This eventually meets a series of organ pipe formations on a steep rocky ridge. Loose rocks abound so care needs to be taken to protect people below on the route. Upon reaching the main ridge, turn right until the summit is reached about 10 minutes after joining the ridge. A fairly long traverse with one significant climb and plenty of scramb,ing as the main ridge is followed westwards until the organ pipe formations stop and a significant descent ridge heading back to Cronin Ck is reached. This is difficult to down navigate so be prepared for some route finding in the last 500m to meet Cronins Ck and the main fire trail back to Yellow Pinch is reached.

Subpages (1): Logan's Ridge
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